I Can’t Control, But I Can Choose

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I broke the cardinal rule of mothering, I woke a sleeping child. This morning I woke my son at 7:30 so that I we could drive my husband to work. It was the same on Tuesday and Wednesday. Instead of griping about how annoying it is, I can choose to be grateful that we have even one car and that my husband has a good job. As I bundle my kids up to go out into the cold, I decide to be thankful that they have proper winter coats rather than curse the sub freezing temperatures. I’ll admit that when I hear of more snow in the forecast it’s hard to avoid despair. Another day stuck at home, more days spent digging out. Being positive isn’t always easy.

I wish I could say that I always choose gratitude first, but honestly, it’s usually after a good pity party that I remind myself how much I have to be thankful for. I’m a planner, I like to have some influence and control over my life. But I’ve learned the hard way that most things in life are entirely out of my control. The snow will come and the cars will break down whether I want them to or not. So at least for today, for this hour, I chose to be thankful.

What Works for Us: Cloth Diapering

I first started this blog in part to talk about cloth diapers. Now, four years later, some of my most popular posts are those about cloth diapers, cloth training pants, mama cloth or other reusable products.

So I thought it would be fun to provide an update on our current cloth diaper use.

What Works for Us Now

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Our son is almost two and definitely nowhere near potty training. (Though all my cloth training pants are in the bottom of his closet just in case.) We use Flip covers primarily during the day usually with prefolds or Flip microfiber inserts. At night we use a bumGenius pocket diaper (4.0 or 3.0, though all have been rehabbed at this point anyway) with a Joey Bunz Premium Hemp Insert (size Large or Medium, but Small works in a pinch) with a bumGenius one size microfiber insert and then a bumGenius doubler on top. This keeps him leak free most nights.

We do struggle with fit. A while back I decided to rehab our diapers with all new touchtape and elastic. Since then I have converted several others to snaps. Last fall a friend kindly gave me a whole bunch more pocket diapers all of which need rehab, but I just haven’t had the time. If I did, we probably would have enough bumGenius to use them almost exclusively. They are not the best diapers ever, but they are all around useful and easy for others to use.

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We have a couple of Free Time diapers that I keep in the diaper bag for going out. But these also needed to be converted to snaps when the aplix started failing. It seems like the new, improved bumGenius aplix just doesn’t have the staying power of the old stuff. It is stronger, but it also wears out quicker and destroys the front loop strip as well. I still really like bumGenius products, but I think if I had it to do over again, I would mostly purchase snaps, especially for items like Flip Covers that get such heavy usage. I also think that the Free Time diapers are soon going to need doublers, at which point I might as well be using a pocket. These were fun to try and work great for a younger baby, but by the second year of life, similar to my old bumGenius AIO’s, they just don’t hold enough for my heavy wetting kids.

I have two second hand Grovia’s that I rehabbed with touchtape and a couple of Thirsties Duo diapers that we use as well. When I first bought them, I was super excited, but they just didn’t work for my daughter. But they don’t leak often with my son, and they make decent daytime or even naptime diapers, but I don’t prefer them for going out and I wouldn’t dare use them at night.

Overall wear and tear

So this is the second child that I’ve diapered and much of my stash is showing the wear. I always figured that whatever I bought for my daughter would work fine for any future children as well.

So here’s my take on what lasted and what didn’t.

Diaper Pail and Liners.

We bought a bumgenius diaper pail and two pail liners. I’m really glad we did. It is still as good as new almost five years later. No, we don’t often change the carbon filter, mostly because I can’t be bother to remember when it needs to be changed and I never use deo disks. Yes, it does smell when you open it, especially in summer. But it’s still a great pail. I love the handles that lock down, since I have to carry it from the second floor to the basement for washing. I know some reviewers have complained about these pail liners, honestly, I’ve never had a problem. But then again, the only time I take the liner out is from the pail (which I carry to the basement) to the washer. This is NOT a wet bag, only a pail liner. A wet bag (such as the Planet Wise Wet Dry bag) is designed to be much sturdier.

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Wet Bags

We registered for and were given two Bummis diaper totes (in size small and large) before my daughter was born. Within weeks I hated them. So I bought the, then new, Bummis Fabulous Wet Bags for going out. I loved the zippers that kept anything in. I rarely notice smell unless it’s a very hot day and the bag has been sitting in the car. They get a fair amount of use, though not daily, at least church each Sunday and MOPS meetings twice a month. We go out often, but daily errands don’t usually involve a diaper change. These bags have held up well for us. I did have to repair the stitching near the handle at one point, but it wasn’t a big deal. I have two medium size which can hold 4-6 diapers comfortably, more if you stuff it. Two years ago we finally bought a large size wet bag for travel and it has made cloth diapering on longer distance trips easier, but since it doesn’t get much use, I can’t claim it’s longevity. I definitely prefer the zipper to draw string.

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A friend gifted me her Planet Wise Wet Dry bag. I like the concept of a wet dry bag but I don’t know if I would have considered the price worthwhile. So far I do like it, but I feel like I have to pull the liner out for it to dry properly and it’s always awkward getting it back in again.

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Thirsties covers. I still love the original Thirsties coverst easily replaceable. But overall, they definitely held up better than my Thirsties Duo Wraps. I feel like no matter how tight I make the cover, the edges of the diaper are still exposed. In general, time has not been kind to my Thirsties products. I didn’t realize fully until I pulled out my Size 2 Duo Wraps for my son. Wow, these were worn, the leg elastic sagged, and the Velcro was incredibly fuzzy and starting to unravel at the edges. Would I buy them again? Definitely the Thirsties covers. I think a few of these in each size is a great investment.

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I even think that the Duo Fitteds are great for newborns, though not nearly absorbent enough for older children. They won’t remain that beautiful soft velvet that they come as. Mine are all rough on the outside and pilled and stained on the inside. But we’ve also been hard on them. For a while, a Size 2 Duo Fitted with a Thirsties Hemp insert and a bumGenius microfiber insert all under a Thirsties size large cover was all that kept our daughter dry at night. Toddler urine is very hard on diapers, especially over night. I was forced to go against manufacturer recommendations and bleach these to deal with the stink. I paid the price in wear and tear, but I still think these diapers have their place. While I prefer snaps for more diapers now than ever, I still prefer hook & loop for fitted diapers. I haven’t had very good results from those with snaps.  But I probably wouldn’t purchase the Duo Wraps again because I now prefer Flip covers.

Flip covers we didn’t discover until our second child. I loved these, but I was terribly disappointed by how quickly the hook & loop wore out. I had to convert them all to snaps. I also don’t know if the fold over elastic on the legs is going to hold up through another child. I do think I now actually prefer Flip to Thirsties Duo’s, but I think Thirsties covers are still the best for newborns and exclusively breast fed babies. Nothing holds in the breast fed poo like those leg gussets. But be warned, you will need more covers. Thirsties covers are cut to accommodate the use of a Snappi or other fasteners. Flip covers are not and because of this you will get poo on the cover much more often.

I think that if I could pick any diapering system now, for this child, at this age, I’d be doing something very similar to what I am now.

I’d be using Flip inserts and Joey Bunz Premium Hemp inserts in Flip covers as a daily go-to combined with bumGenius pocket diapers for going out.

So that’s where we are with diapers. If you’re on to diapers a second or third (or more) child tell us how your diapering style has changed.

It’s OK to Be Small: Five Minute Friday

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Their little hands and feet, that pack a surprisingly large punch. The tiny socks and shirts that multiply to fill laundry baskets. Their tiny lungs that produce ear drum bursting screams.

My single voice, the simple meals that I prepare, the picking up of dozens of tiny toys. The coupon used, left overs consumed, all the little things that keep us afloat. Sometimes I wish I could be a child again. I see the world as simple, loving, magical instead of the heavy weight that my shoulders carry. I feel too small to carry the weight.

Because I am. I am still small, like a child. But if I let him, my Father will do the heavy lifting and make my burden lighter. So here’s to being small.

Fit2B Beginning: Final Week, Longer and Stronger

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Tummy Safe Gentle Blend

This was the 2nd time doing the Tummy Safe Gentle Blend. I think I actually found it more challenging the second time around, or maybe that was just because my son decided to sit on me in almost every possible posture of the workout.

This workout may move at a gentle pace, but I wouldn’t call it easy. Doing all the various positions and stretches while will keeping your abdominals engaged and pulled in is still quite a struggle for me. I can do it, but it requires continued concentration.

Kelly Dean Total Body Toning / Full Body Workout

This was very difficult for me. It is definitely a good workout. While Kelly Dean is a fine instructor, I’ll be honest and say that I don’t like her style quite as well as Bethany Learn. That being said, the workout just killed me, though mostly in a good way. This will get both your upper and lower body while also activating your core throughout the workout. At times I felt that there were too many repetitions of some of the movements. I’d rather do two or three different kinds of movements that work the same set of muscles than the same couple of movements tons of times. I just get easily bored and it’s also easier to give up when it gets hard if you don’t have a change of muscle group or position. But in a pinch, for a 25 minute workout, it pretty much covers almost all the major areas you are looking to hit. I also enjoyed that it was done entirely standing. I like floor workouts, but they usually result in my son sitting or bouncing on me, so it’s nice to avoid that added challenge sometimes.

I also noticed that during the arm portion I got pain in my right middle back, just under my shoulder blade. This is a familiar pain for me that first started when I was pregnant with my daughter and still flares up from time to time. It got particularly bad during my 5K training.  I still don’t know exactly what causes it, and I’ve tried a few stretches to alleviate it, but it always shows up eventually. It’s possible it’s some muscle tension or weakness. But it definitely made the arm movements in this workout more challenging.

I switched things up a little mid-week due to some technical difficulties. I decided to try out one of the cardio workouts available on the Fit2B Studio Roku channel. I ended up doing Kickboxing and Basic Aerobics. Basic aerobics is exactly what it sounds like, simple. It is a little dull, especially if you’ve done it before. But it is also a good short workout if you are short on time, or if you want a nice warm up before something more intense. I’ve done it many times before, and I actually liked it a bit better this time.

As far as the kickboxing goes, it was a very basic workout. I actually liked it for that. Don’t be mistaken, you will still get a good cardio workout, but you won’t learn all the kickboxing moves and it might be boring if you are a serious kick boxer. But it was just right for me. I appreciated the continued core reminders. I’ve always struggled with studio dance or group fitness classes, sometimes even other DVD or streaming workouts because I was concerned that the movements would aggravate my diastasis. I liked that she kept us core aware and tummy safe the whole time.

The Peaceful Blend

I like this workout. I even tried a variation this time of keeping the volume a little lower while playing my own music in the background. At times it was a worshipful experience. But my biggest recommendation is that if you can do this workout without kids around, you really should. 40 minutes is a long time to expect your children to happily play along. I had to pause the video three times to break up fights and dispense punishments. During the closing meditation I had both kids trying to sit on my lap, let me tell you, it was anything but peaceful. This is actually a quite intense workout, in part because it is so slow. One of the tenants of movement I learned during my years of ballet is that slow sustained movement is actually harder than fast movement. Slow movements require constant micro-adjustments within the body to make them work and they really test your endurance. This work out is physically challenging without being a sweaty, high impact experience. (That being said, I’m pretty sure it still had me sweating a little). 40 minutes is a challenging length and while I used to love exercising for an hour, that only works when I am sans children.

Simply Stretching

This was my last workout and it was a little anti-climatic. It is a nice long stretching workout, but to be honest, I’m someone who prefers to stretch at the end of a workout, rather as an end unto itself. However, it would be great if you are recovering from illness, injury or generally just exhausted. It is low impact and slow moving. It was very hard to do with my two children around and I was tackled and kicked several times during the workout. Sometimes I think faster moving workouts are easy to keep out of their reach! So I was a day short of cardio this week, but I did at least finish. Next week I’ll be moving on to Fit2B Advancing. I know the workouts are going to be longer and harder, but I want to keep working towards being in the best possible shape. Hopefully when the weather warms a little and the ice melts from the sidewalks I will return to walking or running as a cardio exercise.

I hope you’ve enjoyed following my journey through Fit2B Beginning and maybe you even followed along. See you next week for Fit2B Advancing.

Starting Slow: Fit2B Beginning Week 1

Building a Habit: Fit2B Beginning Week 2

I’m Finally Enjoying Myself: Fit2B Beginning Week 3

Diastatis Awareness and the Tummy Safe Path

Kicking It Up A Notch: Fit2B Beginning Week 4

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Don’t forget you can use the coupon code laundryblog to save 30% off a Fit2B Studio yearly membership. That’s less than $7 a month.

Frumps to Pumps: Beautiful, Artful, You

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We all have personal style. I never thought I had style. I’m still not sure I do. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I like and what looks good on me. But the truth is, I am an original. We all are. It may not come out in the way we dress, but in the way we speak or write. We each of have something special that we add to the world, and it is all beautiful.

Inspiration I’ve Imbibed

I think I don’t really want to be stylish anymore. I just want to like the way I look. As Madeline L’Engle suggests, I need to stop seeing myself in the wrong mirrors. I’m glad we are almost finished with this challenge because I think I’m just about done thinking so much about how I look. I’ve built some healthy habits, like trying to get dressed each day. But I’ve also made my own compromises. Sometimes on Monday’s I wear yoga pants all day. I try to work out in the morning, but I also have dance rehearsals at my church on Monday night. What is the point of changing my clothes just to get back into workout wear later? I choose my nicer things, the kind that can be worn to the store or seen by the UPS man. They won’t be my pajamas. But I’ll compromise because it fits my life right now.

Challenges I’ve accepted

I’ve decided to stop looking at me and start look at Him. I want to know who I am to my creator, how I matter to my Savior. I’m honestly not entirely sure. After being raised in this faith, and spending my adult years finding how I fit into it, I’m still a little lost. But I think I’ve decided that’s OK. Maybe if I stand still, He’ll find me.

Next- Frumps to Pumps:  Dressed in Strength and Dignity

Week 1 : Join the Challenge

Week 2: Know Your Why

Week 3: Dress Differently, Act Differently

Week 4: Prophesy Hope Through Accountability

Week 5: Make the Decision

Week 6: Find Your “Earrings”

Week 7: Focus Your Eyes

Week 8: A Moment of Silence for Showers

Week 9: Roll Up Your Sleeves

Week 10: Discipline

Week 11: Too Tired to Get Dressed

Week 12: Dressing in Freedom

Week 13: Is Being “Cute” Biblical?

Week 14: Imperishable Beauty

Week 15: For the Fun of It

Week 16: Fighting the Lure of Cozy

Week 17: A Quiet Spirit

Week 18: Modesty, It’s Not What You Think

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He Says, She Says: She Needs Affection

 

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He Says

I know the author prefaced chapter three a few times by saying that, in general, all men have the same similar needs and women have theirs, but it’s not a rule – some people exist out there with a need different from the norm for their gender. I wish he would have mentioned it again in this chapter, however, because I am one of those different from the norm.

According to this book’s description of affection, it is a very high need of mine, if not the highest. Being a man, with the chapter being told from a women’s perspective, it made me a little uncomfortable. Not ashamed, but maybe a little embarrassed. I had to keep reminding myself that there is a specific area of affection that is most important for me, and that is touch. I need physical affection from my wife to know that she loves me. I haven’t read chapter four yet, but I can say that sex is simply a part of the physical affection I need.

I say with a smile that this puts me at somewhat of an “advantage” over other men, because I know exactly what Harley is talking about in this chapter. He kind of makes men sound buffoonish in trying to understand a woman’s need for affection, but I totally get it – physically-speaking, anyway. And because it’s high on Bethany’s needs list as well, we speak this language well. What I’m not so great at is displaying the other signs of affection that are not physical.

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Speaking of languages, I have to bring up another important book my wife and I read before we were engaged: The Five Love Languages (5LL).  It is interesting to note the difference between the two books: HNHN says we have 10 needs, 5 are core; 5LL says we receive love best when “spoken” one way.  My Love Language is Physical Touch; one of my 5 needs is Affection. Makes sense to me. BUT, in HNHN, Affection also includes kind and tender words of affirmation, or receiving gifts – these are totally different love languages! The combination of the overlaps and the disconnects between the two theories is rather confusing for me. I really have to set the two apart if I am to understand this all.

For all I know, I may find in the next chapter that, according to Harley, my need for physical affection really is all about sex. But I doubt it. So, an odd duck am I: a man who needs affection. Who knew? (I did.)

She Says

I am blessed enough to have a husband who is good at affection. He became very good at this while we were dating. He always held my hand, helped me out of cars and sat next to me on the couch. Then children came into our lives. Things got a lot harder. Now it seems like there is little time for affection, mostly because our hands are rarely empty. We don’t hold hands because we each have a child by the hand or on the hip. We don’t hug much because there is usually a child in the way. That being said, we are working towards being more intentionally affectionate. This may sound cold and calculating, but I think sometimes life with kids requires planning for things that used to be spontaneous. (We’ll probably talk about that further in the chapter on sex). It is not calculating to intentionally invest in the other person. It isn’t being fake or false to prioritize something that is important to your spouse for his or her sake.

Rob has always been great about kissing me when he leaves and trying to kiss me as soon as he comes home, even if he has to trip over the kids to do it. But I’ve often felt self-conscious that I have gross breath at either time of the day, and often turn away. I realize the easy solution would be to carry breath mints, but I think it’s more psychological than that. I don’t feel worthy of his affection at times. While I feel exhausted at the end of the day, I rarely feel as though I contribute much to our house. I feel like a sponge. He works hard, brings home a paycheck and I spend it.

But affection is an important habit we both need, both to give and receive it. When he hugs me and ignores the drool on my shirt and the dried oatmeal on my sleeve he is telling me that I matter, that all my efforts, paid or not, are worthwhile. When I choose to sit next to him on the couch when I feel touched out, I’m telling him that he is still a priority to me. Affection, in my opinion, is totally separate from sex. It can improve sex, but it should also be able to exist without it. All affection is not foreplay, at least not in the traditional sense. I’ve begun to realize that when Rob makes regular efforts to be affectionate to me on a daily basis, I feel more attracted to him. So maybe it’s more appropriate to say that affection is like a down payment on future intimacy. Which it is. Like the author said in previous chapters, meeting a need for affection is a deposit in the love bank which strengthens a relationship.

He Says, She Says About His Needs, Her Needs

He Says, She Says: What Your Love Bank Never Closes

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Kicking It Up A Notch: Fit2B Beginning Week 4

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After finally recovering from overwork, stomach bugs and a ridiculous amount of snow fall. I finally got back to my workout goals. It was definitely enjoyable to try some new workouts.

Tummy Safe Tabata

Personally I find Tabata to be a rather repetitive and somewhat boring method of exercise. But Bethany Learn does her best to keep it interesting, by recommending various arm and leg positions throughout the workout. But is a good workout. I definitely felt it as the end.

I did the workouts out of order this week, which is totally OK, though I know the order is intentional. The Gentle Blend was nice. It would probably have been better suited to an evening workout sans children however.

I was excited to see the Balanced workout has returned as a daily double. So how do I do daily double? Usually both at once. I like the idea of doing them at different times each day, but I know that reality is that I’m more likely to actually do them if I do them back to back. Which means Friday is usually my day.

Align It Flat is more informational than it is a serious workout. It is still work, mind you, especially if you have been off the workout circuit for a while. But it was a good choice to use it as part of the daily double since I find it to be too simple on it’s own

Balanced is such a simple workout, but as I did it a second time, I realized what a challenging workout it really is. I’m not necessarily a fan of “feeling” workout the next day. Sometimes that means we’ve done damage or pushed out bodies too hard. But that being said, I did feel this one for the next few days, especially in my inner thighs.

What I didn’t get to do this week was much cardio. I now have to decide whether to be satisfied with that and move on, or repeat the week with the goal of getting through all the workouts and doing the optional cardio days.

Starting Slow: Fit2B Beginning Week 1

Building a Habit: Fit2B Beginning Week 2

I’m Finally Enjoying Myself: Fit2B Beginning Week 3

Diastasis Awareness and the Tummy Safe Path

Join Fit2b.usDon’t forget you can use the coupon code laundryblog to save 30% off a Fit2B Studio yearly membership. That’s less than $7 a month.